Monday, August 26, 2013

Back in Canada - back to Norsk

Aside from the phrasebook mentioned before, I returned from my European travels with another resource to learn my current language of choice. It is a little book by Stanisław Łęcki called Język norweski dla początkujących (in English that would be Norwegian for Beginners). The only issue I have with it is the title - after all I would like to believe - even if it would necessitate lying to myself - that I am no longer a beginner. However, I did have a 2.5-week break in my Norsk studies, and even though the book is theoretically meant for beginners, it will get me very nicely to the intermediate stage.

I also find the organization of the material very comforting - it is exactly what I'm most used to. First there are some dialogues, then a piece for reading comprehension, then the vocabulary, grammar and some exercises.

I know this is the most traditional way of teaching a language, and not necessarily the most effective one, but after many attempts at more modern methods I decided that the presentation of the material in the newer textbooks is quite distracting to me. I especially dislike the colorful A4 format language textbooks and workbooks, where the page is so crowded with pictures, text, exercises and cultural notes of all kinds that there's no room for the learner to make it their own. Give me a white page and I will make it colorful and meaningful - to me - in no time. It's hard to make memorable pages that are already as colorful as they can be. So I appreciate the unimaginative character of Język norweski dla początkujących and the lack of distractions in the book.

On another note, I believe that even though I stopped Norsk for some time, listening to the Klar Tale podcasts affected my ability to guess Norwegian pronunciation very nicely. When I first started learning the language, my main problem was that unless I heard a word pronounced, I would not be able to figure out how to say it. It's different now - I can extrapolate from all my experience with the language, and sometimes I can even get the tonality of the language almost right.

Although I still think with nostalgia to the times when I thought phrases like "Hyggelig å hilse på deg" were the most difficult things to say ever... I am so much better now!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Light sabbatical

Well, I decided that Norwegian in Poland will just not happen. But I'm at peace. 2 weeks and 3 days' break will affect my fluency but it's nothing I intend to lose sleep over. I will step on it when I come back from my trip and I expect to be back to the pre-trip levels in 2 days or so.

In the meantime I purchased a lovely Polish-Norwegian phrasebook. I know, I know, I was supposed to do this one on the cheap and not overdo it with resources but the little book was calling to me from the shelf and I had to answer. It was very pleasant when I opened the book and found many, many phrases that I already knew very well. Although my usual Norwegian studies were happening in the English-to-Norwegian direction, not Polish-to-Norwegian, so I am a bit confused. But what's the point of knowing several languages if one is not prepared to use and abuse them every which way?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

So close to Norway, so far away from Norsk!

I'm worried about the state of my Norwegian. I'm worried because even though I happen to be visiting a country that's much closer to Norway than Canada (where I usually learn Norwegian), I feel absolutely no need to do anything intellectual - and I suppose learning a language belongs in that category. I suppose over-seas vacation means that one should do different things than at home, or nothing at all. Nah, that can't be!

Maybe because on my vacation I am forced to speak my native non-English language, I'm a bit afraid to add another language into the mix. I already have trouble translating my life, which happens in English, into Polish, so that my relatives could understand it. Would intensive Norsk studies not confuse me even more?

In the meantime, I'm staying in touch with the language by reading Klar Tale and listening to a bit of the language every day. But the fact that I may not be able to do any intense language studies is worrying me, especially considering my goal to get to B1 level by mid-September. I may have to rethink and reschedule the goal - but that will happen later, once I know for sure.

And now I allow myself to enjoy the proximity of Norway.